Reflective Journal Week 13/14???

1. What did you actually learned from the unit.

I learned about motivating employees this week. I realized there are many strategies and methods to motivate individuals. The needs of employees will likely change over time. Being sensitive and aware of these changes will allow you to properly incentivize individuals. Every team of co-workers is different and each unit/department/company may face different setbacks. However, as a leader, it is essential that you are able to ensure good performance by boosting moral and providing incentive. 

2. Discuss your feelings/experiences from the team activities? Did it change your opinion on the subject? If so, how? If not, why?

The group discussion this week allowed for a lot of ideas to be shared. The common themes that continuously surfaced to improve moral were employee recognition, communication between leadership and staff, scheduling, and planning miscellaneous activities/meals! I think these are always areas that should be assessed or considered for possible improvements!

3. How you will utilize the information learned in your nursing practice.

I can utilize this information in my nursing practice as I am a member of the engagement committee for my department. As part of the engagement committee, we are in charge of recognition, event planning for holidays and birthdays, and ensuring that each member of our staff knows that they are a valued member of our team! We have actually run into a problem of low moral in the past, and unfortunately, we were doing all of the things discussed in our group discussion this week already! I feel lucky to be part of the department I am in, because I personally think they already have a great handle on things like recognition, scheduling, and lots of perks/goodies. Unfortunately, there will always be times where moral runs low. We did find that avoiding certain staff combinations actually helped improve moral as well. There are a few staff members who always have negative feelings about things. If too many of them were scheduled for the same shifts, it seemed to magnify any dissatisfaction people were feeling! This was actually an easy fix. 

4. You personal feelings about the material covered.

I feel like it is important to be able to  identify ways to improve work ethic and attitude. Unfortunately, most nurses experience burnout at some point in their career. Talented leadership can help combat and overcome burnout!

Week 12 Reflective Journal

1. What did you actually learned from the unit.

I learned a lot about conflict resolution. I learned about effective communication strategies during conflicts and the importance of being a good listener. I also learned a lot about collective bargaining. This was a new topic to me. 

2. Discuss your feelings/experiences from the team activities? Did it change your opinion on the subject? If so, how? If not, why?

I enjoyed the discussion about the difference between assertive and aggressive communication. I am a pretty passive person, and I avoid conflict as much as possible. I think for me, this discussion emphasized that it is okay to be assertive when it is necessary. I also thought the group exam provided very interesting ethical dilemmas to be discussed.  

3. How you will utilize the information learned in your nursing practice.

I can utilize the information learned in my nursing practice by applying conflict resolution methods and strategies as conflicts arise at work. I can learn to be more assertive when there is a conflict. I believe in doing so, I can reduce the risk of coming off aggressive. If I hesitate to be assertive, I may let problems go on too long until I explode and become aggressive. I can also encourage others to handle their own conflicts in a professional and appropriate manner. 

4. You personal feelings about the material covered.

I feel like conflict resolution is an important and difficult part of leadership. As a manager or leader, I feel like you are faced with difficult conflicts. Many of which have been escalated to you because individuals have been unable to resolve these conflicts on their own. Understanding effective approaches to conflict resolution and being able to facilitate effective communication is a vital part of being a leader. 

Week 11 Reflective Journal

1. What did you actually learned from the unit.

I thought strategic planning was an interesting topic to include in the leadership course. Initially, as we had discussions and assignments focusing on education systems, I was trying to figure out what strategic planning was all about and how it relates to leadership positions. After completing the course readings, I realized that strategic planning is essentially any well thought out approach of an organization working towards fulfilling their goal or mission. 

2. Discuss your feelings/experiences from the team activities? Did it change your opinion on the subject? If so, how? If not, why?

It was interesting to see what types of Masters degree programs my colleagues were interested in. I thought the discussion prompt actually offered a lot of insight into what considerations must be made for an organization to make a big investment in something such as a MSN program (clinical sites, programs in the state, etc.). I wish we had more time to plan or explore some of the activities for this week, because I feel like there were a lot of learning opportunities and considerations.

3. How you will utilize the information learned in your nursing practice.

I think this unit offered a lot of insight into the careful planning that goes into the organizations I am a part of. Whether it is the hospital I work at or the school I attend, there are people hopefully working hard to implement strategic planning. 

4. You personal feelings about the material covered.

I feel like it is important to have this insight, even if it is limited, into the planning that is required of leaders.  

Reflective Journal Week 10

1. What did you actually learned from the unit.

This unit taught me a lot about managing change for myself but also as a leader. I had never heard of Kotter’s eight steps to change, and I found this to be very interesting. I learned that successful leaders should put a lot of thought and planning into implementing change in order to make change as painless as possible. I learned that I have actually seen leadership use several of these steps in the past, I just never knew what design they were following. I also learned quite a bit about myself and my attitudes in regards to dealing with change. 

2. Discuss your feelings/experiences from the team activities? Did it change your opinion on the subject? If so, how? If not, why?

The group discussion this week was actually really interesting. I feel like many of us had the same general ideas. We were mostly Haws, although we may have been more like other characters at different points in our lives. We all recognize that change is something that is necessary to progress in life and to happy. Nothing good will come out of waiting around for things to return to the way they were before. However, I feel like each one of our team members also got their own message from this little video. One person mentioned the need to embrace change while still being a person that is reliable for loved ones. Another individual had some insightful comments about the writings on the wall. This made me realize that the message and the story is the same for all of us, but we may have different parts stand out depending on our own experiences or situations. 

3. How you will utilize the information learned in your nursing practice.

One thing that was discussed in our group was the impact an individual’s attitude about change can have. Not only can attitude about change impact your own success and happiness, but it can also have a big impact on others around us. It sometimes feels like change is constant at work. I have seen co-workers get tired of change. People start to grumble and complain. They do not take action and embrace change, but rather sit like Hem and wait for someone to change their mind about a new policy, new charting expectations, etc. I think if individuals on a unit make a point to try to embrace change, it can actually drastically alter the way other people will view the changes. 

4. You personal feelings about the material covered.

I felt like this unit was a great opportunity to reflect on my own attitudes about change. I feel like everyone experiences change differently. Some individuals may seek change and others may reject or resent change. I think one of the best things we can do is to be honest with ourselves. I think it is important that I am able to recognize and reflect on my own experiences with change in order to navigate the cheese maze of life. 

Budget Interview

 

I interviewed Alex Breton who is the owner of Utah EMT Academy. He started his this program a few years ago. As a result, he has had to take several financial risks in the process of opening a successful school. It was interesting to hear about the expenses of someone purchasing medical supplies outside of a hospital setting. 
ur company goes over budget?

Education supplies. In order to develop skills, we have the need to purchase medical supplies, stretchers, CPR dummies, etc. Many of these products are expensive. Even things like bandages and IVs get expensive when paying for products in bulk out of pocket. 

2. What have you noticed works most effectively in cutting costs of these problem areas?

I try to reuse supplies when I can as long as it is safe. If bandages, gauze, slings, etc are just being used for practice many of these can be used multiple times. I try to give students a pack of supplies when class starts and I encourage them to keep this stuff in good condition so they can practice with it over and over. I also take very good care of CPR mannequins, IV arms, and supplies like that since they are expensive to replace. 

3. Have you ever had to lay people off as a result of consistently going over budget?

No.

4. Do you find it beneficial to keep employees aware of budgeting concerns?

Yes. I have a fairly small roster of employees, so all of them are pretty involved in most aspects of the school program. 

5. Are there certain categories of your budget that seem to be unpredictable? (patterns of being over then under budget?)

There have been a few big purchases that I have made the decision to spend money on. In general my expenses right now are fairly predictable. There is a price to pay for a growing program though. 

6. How often do you spend time looking over the budget?

At least once a week. I spend more time looking over the budget before a new class starts. 

7. Do you ever include staff or other leaders in budget discussions?

Yes. If I am trying to make a decision in regards to spending money on educational material, I value the input of my employees. We work as a group to decide what would be most beneficial for the students. 

8. Do you have any tools or programs you use to stay on budget?

I do have a budgeting program that I use to keep track of expenses and profit. 

9. What concerns you more, keeping the month to month budget or the year to date budget?

Right now, a month to month budget is more important to me. Because the school is only a couple years old, we are still going through a lot of growth and changes. As a result, the year to date budgets would be kind of inconsistent. In the future, as less change is occurring, I’m sure I will be more concerned with year to date budgets. 

10. What has been your greatest success in keeping budget? What is a time when you erred in keeping budget?

Starting a program like this is a big financial risk. I had to put a lot of money into opening my own EMT school. So far it has worked out okay for me, but there have been ups and downs financially as I got this business going. 

Week 9 Reflective Journal

1. What did you actually learned from the unit.

I actually really enjoyed learning about and discussing different scheduling methods. Because I do not work on a typical nursing floor, it was interesting and insightful to learn more about scheduling for other units. 

2. Discuss your feelings/experiences from the team activities? Did it change your opinion on the subject? If so, how? If not, why?

The team activity in which we discussed which scheduling system was the best was very insightful! I do not always get a chance to discuss the pros and cons of scheduling strategies, so that was very educational! The team discussion in which we discussed our career goals made me realize something. A few of my team members have a 5 year plan lined out and know exactly what they want to do and how they need to get there. The majority of my team members are in a similar boat as me. Even though I am a year into my career, I feel like I am such a new nurse. I have so many experiences and opportunities ahead of me, that I am honestly having a hard time choosing and sticking to a career path for my future. I think the most important thing for many of us right now is to learn as much as we can and to remain open to new ideas, responsibilities, and experiences.

3. How you will utilize the information learned in your nursing practice.

If I chose to stay in the unit I am currently working in, there is a pretty good chance I will accept a leadership position as soon as I finish my BSN. Part of this leadership position includes overseeing scheduling, so this unit provided some introductory information that may be useful to me in the future! If I chose to accept the shock-trauma ICU position, I will have a big change in schedule. It was nice to get some insight into other scheduling methods. It was also useful/stressful to think about my ultimate career goal as I attempt to make this decision. 

4. You personal feelings about the material covered.

This week made me very grateful for the schedule and scheduling system that I have now. I realized so many units have consistent issues with employee schedules. I feel lucky to be part of a unit in which I have very few, if any, complaints about my schedule. 

Week 8 Reflection

1. What did you actually learned from the unit.

I learned about the future of nursing. I learned that many of the plans for the future of nursing focus on creating a healthcare system that relies on highly trained and educated nurses to be involved with leadership and promoting nurses to working to their full scope of practice. 

2. Discuss your feelings/experiences from the team activities? Did it change your opinion on the subject? If so, how? If not, why?

I think most people in my team agrees that it is important to reach toward the goals for the future of nursing. We were all able to recognize ways in which these goals are relevant and being implemented. 

3. How you will utilize the information learned in your nursing practice.

The material covered this week made me reflect on my own contribution to achieving the future of nursing. I realized my education is a fundamental piece of the future of nursing. I think it is important to recognize ways in which we can work toward becoming leaders at work. I also think nurses can strive toward becoming a valued member of the health team by practicing effective communication with doctors, physicians, etc. 

4. You personal feelings about the material covered.

I thought it was an interesting lecture to listen to. I personally think there are several big changes that could be made in order to really improve or change the future of nursing. I feel like there are big organizational changes to healthcare world that could allow nurses to be more involved in patient care and could also promote continuing education 

Week 7 Reflective Journal

1. What did you actually learned from the unit.

I learned the basics about budgeting. I also learned about internal and external time wasters as well as appropriate delegation. I learned time management and appropriate delegation can impact a department’s budget. I also learned that priority setting is the most critical skill in time management. 

2. Discuss your feelings/experiences from the team activities? Did it change your opinion on the subject? If so, how? If not, why?

I think the best thing about the team activity this week is it really depended on collaboration. Because most of us were not familiar with the budgeting spread sheet before this module, we needed to rely on each other to figure out potential solutions. 

3. How you will utilize the information learned in your nursing practice.

I will utilize the information covered this week by being aware of budgeting concerns in my own department. Budget is something that is discussed in our department meetings on a regular basis. I think being more involved or aware of budget goals or challenges can help me better understand budgeting for healthcare as a whole. I think it is important to understand the basics of budgeting so that we are able to contribute as employees. 

4. You personal feelings about the material covered.

I learned that budgeting is my worst nightmare. My dad is a Chief Financial Officer. His entire job is budgeting big companies. Growing up, I would listen to him work and think “I never want to do that”. I believe I could be very good at budgeting for a department if I had to. I just have no desire to ever have that responsibility. I also learned it is hard to budget for a department or company that you are not actively involved in the day-to-day operations. 

Firing-Discipline Interview

I interviewed Keith who is the manager of the collections department at NorthStar. From this experience, I learned that many organizations follow a similar discipline process. These often include verbal warning, written warning, and final written warning. However, I also learned that some managers will try to avoid the next step of the process by putting employees in a “probation period” in which they have a plan to correct or improve the employees behavior. I think it is important to recognize the importance of communication with your employer or leadership. If you have received a warning of some sort, I think most leadership members are willing to help you resolve an issue if it is not something you can do on your own. 

    1. What is your process of steps to take before firing an employee? The formal process of steps to take before firing an employee is set by the company. We do a verbal warning, a written warning, and then a final written warning.
    2. Who else is involved during the firing process? It depends on why the individual is being fired. Typically HR and myself.
    3. How many steps are involved from first offense to dismissal? If we follow the process usually 3. This can always change depending on circumstances and what the offense is. Some offenses I will not go as far as doing a written warning after one verbal warning. 
    4. What does your disciplinary plan usually look like? If I am not following the three step process, sometimes I can put an employee on probation. If there is an issue that may take time to resolve or performance needs to be improved, I will work with the employee to develop goals and expectations to be met. This allows me to check in on their progress and intervene before further action is taken. 
    5. Do you collect anything from the employee before termination? At the time an employee is terminated I collect their badge and parking pass.
    6. Do you offer warnings before disciplinary action or dismissal is taken? Yes unless it is a very serious and fireable offense. 
    7. If disciplining or firing someone goes wrong, or the employee responds inappropriately, how would you handle that? I can get HR or security involved if it comes to that.
    8. Do you give the employee an opportunity to “defend themselves”? Do you offer second chances based on what they say? Most of the employees I have had to fire have had several discussions with me prior to dismissal. I do want to know their perspective on things, but I try not to jump to conclusions. Once I am at the point of firing an employee, they have already had several chances to discuss their behavior with me. Because I am not quick to fire employees, I usually do not offer second chances. 
    9. After firing an employee, how do your other employees typically respond? I have never had any issues with other employees getting upset. Typically issues leading to an employee being fired have taken a toll on the other employees, so they are understanding of the situation. 
    10. After disciplinary action is taken or someone is fired, how do you motivate your other employees? How do you keep your other employees accountable? Our department is very goal motivated and oriented. Individuals are compensated based on their own performance, so this is not usually an issue. The only negative impact is sometimes a heavy work load for a few weeks. 

Week 6 Reflection

I really enjoyed the unit this week. I feel like up until this point, ethics committees have been kind of this mythical group of people that exist and are never seen. It was interesting to learn more about when ethics committees should be involved, who is on an ethics committee, and what their purpose or goal is. I learned that this is a resource that is not utilized as often as it could be (I think Sean said 3 times a year on average). 

The team activities this week were much less controversial than I was expecting them to be. I was surprised how well our “ethics committee” was able to come to a consensus about what our recommendation for the scenario would be. Many of us were able to find guidelines on discontinuing dialysis, which made our opinions much easier to validate. I can see it being much more challenging when a dilemma arises that has not been encountered quite as often and there are no “guidelines” in place.

I think handling ethical dilemmas has to be one of the most challenging aspects of being a leader in the healthcare system. There are so many ethical dilemmas that could potentially arise. Each patient and each scenario will have their own complications or interesting factors to take into consideration when trying to arrive at an ethical solution. I feel like it is important to be sensitive to identifying ethical concerns in our nursing practice. Being aware of the resources we have as nurses when an ethical dilemma arises is definitely beneficial. 

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